NJ Interfaith Coalition Holds Potluck Picnic In Colonial Park

Some members of state faith-based groups at the New Jersey Interfaith Coalition’s potluck picnic at Colonial Park.

Members of faith-based groups from around the state gathered at Colonial Park July 16 for a get-together sponsored by the New Jersey Interfaith Coalition.

Among those attending the potluck picnic were members of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council, led by Alex Kharazi of the Masjid-e-Ali mosque.

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large) also stopped by.

The NJ Interfaith Coalition is a “non-partisan network of houses of worship, organizations, and individuals with the following mission: Promote houses of worship, non-political organizations and individuals to work together to honor and enrich diverse faiths and ethical practices; oppose intolerance and hate​, and foster a climate of positive mutual acceptance and appreciation for all, regardless of their faith, race, or sexual orientation,” according to its web site.

The idea for the picnic came from a meeting of the NJIFC’s steering committee, Kharazi said.

“We were looking for ways we could bring the community from across New Jersey together in one location,” he said. “So after some discussion, we said why don’t we just have it in Colonial Park? Everybody agreed.”

Alex Kharazi of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council points out a t-shirt’s message.

Arthur “Skip” Winter, of the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, was the event’s main organizer. He said the event was held to help “connect the dots” of the state’s various faith groups.

“There are a lot of interfaith organizations throughout the state, but nobody can make that contact yet, so it’s still in its infancy,” he said. “This is an event where we said, let’s try to get a lot of folks together, talk, exchange thoughts, find out where everybody’s from and just have it as kind of like an introductory picnic.”

Winter said he was “extremely surprised” by the number of people who showed up, some as far away as Essex County.

“We really didn’t know how many people were going to show up,” he said.

Kharazi said the NJIFC has more than 150 members. More events are planned for the rest of the year, he said.


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